Google are forcing “nofollow” tags in news PR

21 Aug

With all the speculation around linking and penalties, genuinely gaining followed links is now harder than ever. Google have just made this even more difficult by eliminating a lot of options with News press releases (PR).

PR articles can often be found within Google news and if they’ve been accepted in there the articles (and links within the articles) are generally seen with a higher authority as Google knows it’s a news source. However all that is about to change, thanks to Google no longer allowing followed links to appear within certain PR company news.

This revelation comes about after one of our PR submission partners received a phone call direct from Google. Google have stated that news articles submitted by the company won’t be accepted in to Google news if they don’t have the re=”nofollow” attribute on all links, causing the PR company to have to re-design their infrastructure to add this.

Why are Google forcing rel=”nofollow”?

Due to there being no official statements on this, it’s impossible to say exactly why although it’s easily speculated. Last month, Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, was interviewed on the legality of linking within Google’s eyes. He was quoted with saying “a lot of people approach it (linking) from a direction that’s backwards. They try to get the links first and then they want to be grandfathered in or think they will be a successful website as a result.” See the full interview here.

Here at RS Digital, we believe this philosophy is part of why links in PR articles won’t be followed. If people know that their links in the articles won’t be followed and therefore not passing link juice to their website, they’re a lot less likely to submit a press release with the objective of gaining the link.

This provides more scope for PR articles to be used ethically for what they were intended for. PR is supposed to be used for gaining exposure and publishing news but because this news often made it on to high authority news distributors, spammers saw this as a method to gain good links.

What does this mean for PR going forward?

This means is that the links a website might gain from PR are going to be more genuine. With people writing and publishing Press Releases for their intended use, it’ll cut down on the people posting un-newsworthy content just to get links.

The truly genuine and interesting articles will still get naturally linked to. When someone reads something they like, they share it on their social media profiles and their websites. Forcing people to post more genuine content may seem a bit extreme on Google’s part, but with how convoluted the sector was becoming, it’s a step in the right direction. We’re just glad that our PR company was thoughtful enough to ring us and let us know!

Gareth Owen